The Charlotte Observer

October 23, 1975

By Richard Sink

Beer Feels A Little Cheated

Tom Beer dejectedly tossed the playing cards for Saturday's home with the Hawaiians into the air and walked off the practice field.

As the diagrams drifted to the earth, Beer was clear of the World Football League for the first time since Day One of the Charlotte franchise. The now-unemployed Hornet was a member of the Boston WFL franchise even before it moved to New York in pre-season 1974 and later on to Charlotte. He was the only one of the originals left.

"A two-time loser," Beer called himself.

As player-personnel director, Beer was involved in signing 18 of the Hornets who were still with the club when it and the WFL folded Wednesday. He also coached the offensive ends on the field, and from November 8 of 1974 until May 1 of this year, he worked without pay in the Hornet front office to try to save the team for Charlotte.

"You've worked your butt off, and you've felt the fruits of your hard work when it's thrown back in your face," said Beer. "I feel I've been a little cheated.

"But I Really feel for these guys (players). They gave 110 percent and they wanted to see it go.

"I feel so bad for Upton Bell (Hornet president and general manager). He gave his heart and soul to this franchise. He gave 24 hours a day. He put together a helluva front office and team. It's a shame it had to end this way."

Mostly, Beer turned his wrath toward certain owners in the league this year and last, the bad half who brought the good half down with them.

"People came in and didn't follow orders," Beer said. "They were phonies, just like last year. It was an ego trip for the owners who see themselves as the modern-day John Paul Getty, but they can't kid themselves now.

"They disgraced the other teams in the league. They were jerks who spoiled it for everybody else."

BEER DOESN'T fault Chris Hemmeter, the WFL president who worked tirelessly in the off-season to extend the league for a second season

What Chris did was almost a miracle," Beer said. It's the asses in the league who didn't follow the Hemmeter Plan. If they had, we'd still be operating.

"We were the laughing stock at the start of the year because Upton Bell raised the smallest amount of money in the league and we had only a few players back from last year. If you had told me we'd be 6-5 on October 22, I'd have said have your head examined. I would have thought we'd have three wins.

"BUT WE ROSE from oblivion with a front office and team that was among the best in the league. We made it by the skin of our teeth but we showed a lot of hard work would make it, and we're done in by a bunch of quitters.

"We had limited funds here and we couldn't help out the other clubs that had a lot of capital to start with."

Beer has written a book entitled "Sunday's Fools," which describes his adventures as a tight end with two losing clubs in the National football League up until he joined the WFL.

Now, he says he'll contact his publisher this week. "I have the material for a heart-rending book," Beer said. "About people who have a gut feeling for their sports."

Asked for a possible title, Beer said, "A funny Thing Happened on the way to the Poor House."